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The Gospel of St. John
GA 112

II. The Living Spiritual History

25 June 1909, Cassel

When a subject, such as the present, is considered from the standpoint of spiritual science, there is no question of adopting as a basis of discussion, some record or other handed down in the course of human evolution, with a view to throwing light on the accumulated facts, on the authority of this documentary evidence. This is not the method pursued by spiritual science. On the contrary, spiritual science investigates the facts and occurrences of human evolution independently of all documents. The spiritual investigator does not refer to documentary evidence until he is in a position to investigate and truly describe the things in question by means which are independent of documents and traditions. If he then turns to documentary evidence, it is to examine if the latter corroborates the results of his own independent research. Thus, no statement is made in these lectures, regarding any particular event, merely on the strength of biblical evidence; only the results of occult investigation are given — investigation independent of the Gospels. But, at every opportunity, attention will be called to the fact that whatever can be ascertained and observed by the spiritual investigator is reproduced in the Gospels and particularly in the Gospel of St. John.

There is a remarkable saying of the great mystic Jacob Boehme — a saying, however, which can surprise but those who are not in touch with spiritual science. Jacob Boehme once calls attention to the fact that he speaks of past ages in human evolution (for example, of Adam's personality) as of experiences in which he had played an immediate part. Someone might ask, he says: ‘Were you present, then, when Adam lived on earth?’ ‘Most certainly I was there!’ is Jacob Boehme's unhesitating reply. A remarkable saying, for it is indeed true that spiritual science is in a position to observe past occurrence, be it however so remote, with eyes that are of the spirit. I should like to indicate, by way of introduction and in a general way, how this comes to pass.

Everything that happens in the physical sense-world has its counterpart in the spiritual world. When a hand is moved, there is more before you than the moving hand seen by your eye, there is my thought and my volition: ‘My hand must move.’ A spiritual background is there. Whereas the ocular, sensible impression of the hand passes away, its spiritual counterpart remains engraved in the spiritual world and unfailingly leaves a trace there. So that, when our spiritual eyes are opened, we can follow the traces and find the spiritual counterpart of everything that has happened in the world. Nothing can happen in the world without leaving such traces. Let us suppose the spiritual investigator lets his gaze wander back to the days of Charlemagne, or to Roman times, or to ancient Greece. Everything that happened in those times is preserved in the trace left by its spiritual prototype, and can be observed in the spiritual world. This kind of vision is called ‘reading the Akashic records’. A living script of this kind does indeed exist and can be seen by the spiritual eye. Thus when the spiritual investigator described to you the events in Palestine or the observations of Zarathustra, his descriptions are not taken from the Bible or in the Gathas, but what he himself is able to read in the Akashic records. Then, having completed his occult investigation, he turns to the traditional documents — in the present case, to the Gospels — and investigates whether they confirm his results. Thus, the standpoint of occult investigation, as regards traditional documents, is one of complete independence, for which reason such investigation is in every respect competent to judge these documents. But when we meet with the same facts in the traditional documents as we have been able to decipher in the Akashic records, this coincidence proves to us that these documents are true, furthermore that their author could also read in the Akashic records. Many of the religious and other traditions of humanity are regained in this way by spiritual science. Let us now illustrate this on the strength of one chapter of human evolution in particular, namely, the Gospel of St. John and its relation to the other Gospels. You must not imagine, however, that the Akashic records — that spiritual history that lies open before the seer's eye — is like ordinary handwriting. It is a kind of living script, as we will try to illustrate by the following example.

Suppose the seer glances back, let us say, to the times of Julius Caesar. Caesar's actions, inasmuch as they were performed on the physical plane, were witnessed by his contemporaries; but every action has left its trace in the Akashic records, and when the seer looks back, it is as though a spiritual shadow or archetype of these actions were before him. Recall the movements of the hand. The picture presented to the physical eye cannot be seen by the seer, but the intention to move the hand, the invisible forces which actuated the movement, can always be seen by him. Similarly everything that lived in Caesar's thoughts is visible, whether it be his intention to take some particular step or to wage some particular war. For everything that his contemporaries witnessed originated in the impulse of Caesar's will, and became actuality through the action of the invisible forces which are behind the picture presented to the eye. But these invisible forces behind the external picture are indeed to be seen as the real Caesar, living and moving — as the spiritual image of Caesar visible to the seer in the Akashic records.

But someone inexperienced in such matters might object: ‘To our mind, your narrative of past times is pure fancy. You are acquainted from history with the deeds of Caesar, and your powerful imagination makes you believe you see some kind of invisible Akashic pictures.’ But whoever is familiar with such things knows that the less the seer knows from external history on the subject of his investigations, the easier it is for him to read in the Akashic records. External history is a positive hindrance to occult research. When we have reached a certain age, we are influenced in many ways by the culture of our day. The seer, too, brings with him the education of his day, up to the point when he can give birth to his clairvoyant Ego. He has studied history and the knowledge handed down to him in geology, biology, archaeology, and so on. Strictly speaking, all his disturbs his vision and may bias him when he comes to decipher the Akashic records. For the same objectivity and certainty may by no means be expected in external history, as are possible in deciphering the Akashic records. Consider upon what conditions some fact or other becomes ‘historical’. Certain documents relating to some event or other have been preserved, while others — perhaps the most important — are missing. An example will show how unreliable all history may be.

Among Goethe's many unfinished poetical sketches, which are a beautiful addition to the great works he has given us in finished form, there is a fragmentary poem on Nausicaa. We have only a few notes on this poem, showing how Goethe intended to complete it He often worked in this way — jotting down a few sentences — and often only a fragment has remained. So it is with the Nausicaa. Now two scholars have attempted to complete this fragment: Scherer, the author of a history of literature, and Herman Grimm. But Grimm was more than a scholar; he was an imaginative thinker. He is the same Grimm who has given us a Life of Michelangelo and a study on Goethe. Grimm set to work by endeavouring to identify himself with the spirit of Goethe. He put himself the question: Goethe being what he was, how would he have conceived the Nausicaa of the Odyssey? Then, with a certain disregard of the historical records, he reconstructed the poem in the sense of Goethe's ideas. Scherer, however, with a mania for documentary evidence in black and white, asserted that Goethe's Nausicaa could not be reconstructed except on the basis of existing material. He, too, attempted to reconstruct a Nausicaa, but keeping strictly to Goethe's notes. To this Herman Grimm remarked: ‘Suppose Goethe's valet took some of the notes (perhaps the most important) to light the fire! Is there any guarantee that the available notes are of any value whatever, when compared with the others which perhaps served to light the fire?’

As in this case, so it may be with all history that is based on documental evidence. When we pin our faith to documents we must never forget that precisely the most important of these may have perished. In fact we have in ‘history’ neither more nor less than a fable convenue. When the facts shown by the Akashic records differ widely from conventional history, the seer finds it difficult to believe in the Akashic picture. And he would be immediately attacked by the public if his relation of any fact from the Akashic records differed from accepted history. Hence the experienced in such matters are happiest to speak of ancient times — of long past phases of our earth's evolution, of which there are no tradition or documents extant. Here experience of the Akashic records, being least hampered by exoteric history, is most true. It follows therefore that no one familiar with such things could ever conceive that the Akashic records were merely an echo of the facts related by conventional history.

Now when we investigate in the Akashic records that great event, the significance of which was touched upon yesterday, we discover the following main points. The human race living upon earth has its origin in a spiritual realm and springs from one divine spiritual existence. We might say: Before any possibility existed that a physical eye could perceive, or a physical hand could grasp a human body, man was there in the form of a spiritual being; he was present in the earliest ages as a part of divine, spiritual beings. Himself a being, man is born out of divine spiritual beings. Gods are, as it were, the ancestors of men; men are the descendants of Gods. The Gods needed men for their descendants; for, without such descendants, they were unable to descend to the physical world of sense. Continuing their existence in other worlds, the Gods worked upon man from outside, so that he gradually and by degrees developed upon earth. Eventually men had to overcome, step by step, the hindrances which arose from life upon earth. What were these hindrances?

For men, it was essential that the Gods remained spiritual and that men, as their descendants, became physical. Man, whose spiritual nature became merely the inner part of the physical, was not called upon to overcome the hindrances involved by physical existence. Though confined to the material world, he was to pursue his development. In this way, advancing from stage to stage of development and maturity, he found it increasingly possible to turn once more to the Gods out of whose bosom he was born. A descent from the Gods, followed by a re-ascent to, and a reunion with them — such is man's path in his life upon earth. To render this evolution possible, certain human individuals had to outstrip the rest of humanity and press forward in advance, in order to become the leaders and teachers of men. Such leaders and teachers take their place among men and, as it were, find their way back to the Gods sooner than the rest of mankind. So that we may say: At a given period men have reached a certain stage of evolution; they have perhaps only a dim presentiment of the way back to the Gods, and must travel far before they reach that goal, but a spark of the divine is in them. In the leaders there is always more than a spark. They are nearer to the divine being which man is striving to reach. And that which lives in these leaders of humanity is their chief and essential attribute in the view of those whose eyes are opened to the things of the spirit.

Let us assume that a great leader of humanity stands before some other man who, though not of equal standing with the leader, nevertheless ranks higher than the average human being. The latter, we will suppose, is alive to the fact that the other is a great leader, and that the spiritual nature which the rest of mankind has yet to acquire, is already present in him in a high degree.

How would such a man describe this leader? He might say: A man is before me — a human being in a physical body, like all others. But his physical body is the least important thing about him; it is a negligible quantity. When, however, I turn my spiritual eye on him, I see, united with him, a mighty, divine, spiritual being. And this is so significant that I direct all my attention to this divine being and disregard the physical aspect, which he shares with the rest of men. Thus the spiritual seer beholds in a leader of men, something which essentially transcends the rest of humanity and must be described in an altogether different way. For the seer describes what his spiritual eyes behold. Those to whom the world looks up as authorities in public life, would indeed ridicule the idea of a leader of men towering above his fellows. We see how already certain learned men begin to regard the great figures of the human race from the standpoint of psychiatry.

He would only be recognized by those who have perfected their spiritual sight. They, however, would know that he is neither fool nor fanatic, nor simply a ‘gifted man’, as well meaning persons no doubt describe him, but that he belongs to the greatest figures of the history of mankind in the spiritual sense. Thus would it be today. But in the past it would be quite different, and in a past that does not lie so very far behind us.

Now we know that the consciousness of humanity has undergone various metamorphoses. All men once possessed a dull, dim clairvoyance. Even in the time of Christ clairvoyance still prevailed to a certain extent, and in earlier centuries to a greater extent, though this faculty had become a mere shadow of Atlantean and early post-Atlantean clairvoyance. Gradually and by degrees clairvoyant consciousness disappeared among men. Nevertheless there were always isolated individuals who possessed it, and even in our day ‘naturally clairvoyant’ people are to be found, who have a dim clairvoyance and can distinguish the elements of man's spiritual being.

Let us take the time of Buddha's appearance among the people of ancient India. Nowadays the appearance of Buddha (especially in Europe) would not to any great extent excite feelings of respect. But in Buddha's time it was otherwise. For at that time there were many capable of seeing what was really taking place, who knew that the birth of the Buddha was quite unlike any ordinary birth. In the scriptures of the East, and precisely in those which treat of the matter with the deepest understanding, the birth of the Buddha is described in ‘elevated style’ — as one might say. It is related how Queen Maya was the ‘Image of the Great Mother’ and that it had been foretold her that she would give birth to a mighty being. This being came to earth as a premature birth. It often happens that a remarkable being is sent into the world in this way; for the human being in whom the higher being is to incarnate, is thus less involved in matter than if borne to his full time of maturity. It is further related in the wonderful oriental scriptures that at the moment of his birth, the Buddha's body was radiant, and that he immediately opened his eyes and directed them to the four cardinal points of the earth — North, South, East, and West. Further we are told that he took seven steps the trace of which remained engraved in the ground where he trod. We are also told that he forthwith spoke, uttering the following words: ‘This is the life in which I rise from Bodhisattva to Buddha, the last incarnation which I must live on this earth.’

However strange such accounts may sound to the materialistic thinker of today, and however impossible it may be to interpret them in an offhand materialistic manner, their truth is manifest to those who can behold things with spiritual eyes. At that time there were still people who, by virtue of their natural gift of clairvoyance, could behold spiritually what came to the world with Buddha. These are strange passages which I have quoted from Eastern scriptures about the Buddha. Nowadays people call them fables and legends. But they who understand these things know that spiritual truths are here concealed.

The significance of an event such as the birth of the Buddha is too great to be confined to the narrow limits of the personality born at that time. Such events have world-wide significance; spiritual forces radiate from them. And they who lived in those spiritually more receptive times could indeed behold the outpouring of spiritual forces at the birth of the Buddha. It would be simple to ask why such things do not happen now. To be sure, there are forces at work today, but there must be a seer there to behold them. For it is not enough for one to be there from whom the forces radiate; there must also be someone to receive them. In times when men were more spiritual, they were also more receptive for such radiations. Hence there is a profound truth in the saying that at the birth of the Buddha, forces of a healing and conciliating nature were at work. That is no mere legend; great truths underlie the saying that when Buddha was born, they who hated each other were united in love, and they who had lived in strife were reconciled, and so on.

To the eye of the seer, human evolution does not appear as the level road seen by the historian, above which rise (but only slightly) the characters accepted as historical. That there are altitudes and even mountains on this road is not admitted; people cannot bear the idea.

But whoever can survey the world with higher vision knows that there are mighty heights and mountains towering above humanity on the evolutionary path. These are the leaders of mankind. On what grounds do these men assume the leadership of their fellow-men? It is because they have risen, step by step, to the attainment of life in the spiritual worlds. One such step we showed yesterday to be the most important: the birth of the higher, spiritual self; we also spoke of preparatory steps and of others following this event. From what was said you will gather that the Christ-event, as we have called it, is the mightiest summit in human evolution and that a long preparation was needed before the Christ could incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. To understand these preparations we must examine the same phenomenon on a small scale.

Let us suppose a man enters upon the path of spiritual knowledge in a given incarnation, that is, he practices some of the exercises (of which we will speak later) which render the soul ever more spiritual and receptive of higher knowledge, and lead to the point when the soul can behold the spiritual world. Many an experience is undergone before this point is reached, and it must not be imagined that excessive haste is admissible in spiritual things. The process must be gone through in patient labour and perseverance. Let us assume a man begins to develop himself in this way. His goal is the birth of his higher self; however he reaches only a subordinate stage. He dies — and is reborn. Two things are now possible. He may feel impelled to seek a teacher who can show him how to repeat in a short time what he has already learnt, and how to attain the stages next in order, or, for some reason or other, he does not seek to follow this path. Even in this case his life will present features differing from the average. The life of a man who has already taken the first steps on the path of knowledge, will of itself afford experiences which are the apparent effect of the grade of initiation he attained in his former incarnation. These experiences and their effect upon him are out of the ordinary, and he can, with their help, once more attain the point to which his former efforts had raised him. In his former incarnation he progressed from step to step by dint of active effort. In his succeeding incarnation, life of itself brings a recapitulation of the fruits of his former efforts; life, as it were, approaches him from outside and he may possibly experience the results of his former incarnation in quite a different form. Thus it may happen that a particular experience in his childhood creates so powerful an impression on him, that the forces which he had made his own in his foregoing incarnation are again aroused within him. Suppose that such a man had attained a definite stage in the development of higher knowledge. He is reborn in his next lie as a child like any other; but in his seventh or eighth year a grievous experience befalls him. This affects him in such a way that the wisdom he had formerly acquired for himself now reappears, so that he now again stands where he formerly stood, and can advance to higher stages. He dies again. In his next life the same process may be repeated; an exterior experience puts him to the test, as it were, and brings to light firstly the fruits of his penultimate, then of his ultimate, incarnation, and at this point he can again ascend a step higher.

Thus it is evident that the foregoing must be taken into account if we are to understand the life of a man who has traversed certain stages of evolution. There is one stage, for instance, which is soon reached if a serious effort is made to advance on the path of knowledge. That is the stage of the so-called Homeless One — the man who outgrows the prejudices of his immediate environment and throws off the various constraints by which he is surrounded and kept, as it were, in leading strings. This does not necessarily make him irreverent; he may even become more reverent. But the ties which bind him to his immediate surroundings must be loosened. Take the condition of a man who dies after achieving a condition of some freedom and independence. He is born anew, and in this life an event experienced at a comparatively early age reawakens the feeling of freedom and independence. As a rule this is effected by the loss of his father or of someone to whom he is attached; or it may be that his father is unkind to him, or repudiates him, or the like. These truths are handed down to us in the legends of the various peoples, for in such matters myths and legends are really wiser than the science of our day. You will always find, as a typical incident, that the father orders the child to be exposed; the child is rescued by shepherds, is nurtured and reared by them, and finally restored to his station. (Chiron, Romulus and Remus, Oedipus.) In order that the fruits of their past lives be reawakened in them, they are brought as it were face to face with themselves through the treachery of their homes. The story of the exposure of Oedipus belongs to this category. Now whether a man has already experienced the birth of his higher self or has just reached this stage, we may imagine that the greater his advancement, the richer must his life be in experiences, before he reaches the point of experiencing something previously unknown to him.

He in whom the mighty Being whom we call the Christ was to incarnate, could not undertake this mission in any year of his life indiscriminately. Indeed, no ordinary man could undertake this mission, but only one who had attained high grades of initiation in many lives. Here the Akashic records faithfully recount to us all that had taken place. They show how, during many lives, an individual had striven upward, from stage to stage, to high grades of initiation. He was reborn and at first passed through experiences of a preparatory nature. Yet we recognize in him a high initiate who was destined at a later period of his life to receive into himself the Christ-Individuality. The first experiences of this initiate are a repetition of his former stages of initiation, and draw forth from his soul the high attainments to which he had formerly risen. Now, as we know, man is composed of a physical, an etheric, an astral body and an Ego. But we also know that in the course of human life the physical body is the only one born at the physical birth. Up to the seventh year the human etheric body is still surrounded by a kind of etheric sheath; in the seventh year, at the second dentition, this sheath is thrown off in the same way as the physical maternal covering is discarded when the physical body is born into the outer world. Later, at the age of puberty, an astral covering is cast off in like manner, and the astral body is born. Finally, about the twenty-first year, the Ego is born, but again only by degrees. Then we have a similar birth of the sentient, the rational, and the consciousness soul at about the twenty-first, twenty-eighth, and thirty-fifth year respectively. Now we shall see that the Christ could not have incarnated in a human being on earth, before the rational soul was fully born, that is, before the twenty-eighth year. This is proved by spiritual research. The individual who was already a great initiate on earth, was between the twenty-eighth and thirty-fifth year of his age when the Christ entered into him; then, in the radiant light of this great Being he unfolded all that other men develop without this radiant light: the etheric and the astral body, the sentient and the rational soul. So that we may say: Up to the year of his age in which he was called upon to become the Bearer of Christ, we have before us a great initiate who by degrees undergoes experiences which finally evoke the sum of his experiences and conquests in the spiritual world. Then comes the moment when it is possible for him to say: ‘Now I am ready. I lay down all that I have. Henceforth I renounce my independent self! I give myself up to be the bearer of the Christ! He shall dwell in me and henceforth be all in me!’

All four Gospels indicate the moment when the Christ incarnated Himself in a personality upon Earth. However much they may differ in other particulars, all four agree as to the moment when the Christ descends, as it were, into the great initiate — the moment is the Baptism by John. That instant, so clearly indicated by the writer of the Gospel of St. John, when he says that the Spirit descended in the form of a dove and united itself with Jesus of Nazareth — in that instant we recognize the birth of Christ. Christ is born in the soul of Jesus of Nazareth, as the new, the Higher Self. And that other self, the self of the great initiate, had attained such greatness that it was ripe for this event.

And who was the Being born in Jesus of Nazareth? We indicated this yesterday: the God who was there from the beginning, who had remained in the spiritual world, leaving mankind to its development. He it was who descended and incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Does the writer of the Gospel of St. John give us to understand this? To answer this question we need only read attentively the words of the Gospel; but first let us read the beginning of the Old Testament:

‘In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth. And the Earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’

Let us call up this picture before us: ‘The Spirit of God moved upon the waters.’ Below is the Earth with its kingdoms, which issued from the divine Spirit. Among the descendants of the divine Spirit there is an individual so highly advanced that he can receive into himself this Spirit that moved upon the waters. What does the writer of St. John's Gospel say? He tells us that John the Baptist recognized that the Being foretold in the Old Testament was there. He says: ‘I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and it rested upon him.’ John knew that he upon whom the Spirit descended was He who was to come: The Christ. Thus, the Spirit moving upon the waters is the beginning of earthly evolution; then, as John baptized with water, the Spirit who in the beginning moved upon the waters, descended into the body of Jesus of Nazareth. It would be impossible to express in words sublimer than St. John's, the connection between the events in Palestine and that other event related at the beginning of the same tradition of which his Gospel is a continuation. St. John also has words to express the fact that with Jesus of Nazareth that Spirit was united to whom the whole earth owes its creation and evolution. We know the first words of St. John's Gospel: ‘In the beginning was the Word (or Logos), and the Word (or Logos) was with God, and the Word (or Logos) was a God.’

What is the Logos? How was the Logos with God? Take the beginning of the Old Testament. We read of the Spirit of whom it is said: ‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.’

Let us note this well and then express it in different words. Let us listen to the call of the divine Spirit whose creative Word resounded through the world. What is this Word? In the beginning was the Logos, and the divine Spirit called, and that came to pass even as the divine Spirit called. That means: ‘In the Word was life.’ For had there been no life in the Word, nothing would have come to pass. What came to pass? We are told: ‘And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.’ Now let us again turn to the Gospel of St. John.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God.’

The Word was now poured out into matter; in matter it had become, as it were, the outer form of the Godhead.

‘In Him (the Word) was life; and the life was the light of men.’

The writer of the Gospel of St. John refers directly to the ancient Book of Genesis and to the same divine Spirit, only in different words. He explains to us that this same divine Spirit appeared in Jesus of Nazareth; and, with regard to the Baptism by John, he is in agreement with the other Evangelists that at that moment the Christ was born in Jesus of Nazareth, after long preparation duly undergone by him. We must be clear on the point that, up to the Baptism by John, the life of Jesus of Nazareth, as related to us in the Gospels, presents nothing but a sum of experiences demonstrating his ascent to higher worlds in former incarnations, and showing how he prepared his entire being — his astral, etheric, and physical bodies — for the final reception of the Christ.

The writer of the Gospel of St. Luke tells us in exemplary words that Jesus of Nazareth had in every respect prepared himself for this great event — for the birth of the Christ in him. The various experiences which led up to this event will be dealt with tomorrow; today I would merely point out how a single sentence in St. Luke indicates the preparation undergone by the recipient of the Christ. His astral body had become virtuous, noble, and wise, as was fitting, for the Christ to be born therein. He had made his etheric body so perfect and his physical body so supple and beautiful that the Christ could dwell in him. We must only understand the Gospel aright. Read the fifty-second verse of the second chapter of St. Luke. To be sure, the ordinary Bible rendering of the verse does not express what I have just said. It reads: ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature (or age), and in favour with God and man.’ Now when a man like the writer of St. Luke says of Jesus of Nazareth that he increased in wisdom, we can find some meaning in his words. But when he goes on to relate that Jesus increased in age (stature), his meaning is not at first clear, for this circumstance hardly needs special mention. That it is so mentioned points to the fact that something else is meant. Let us read this verse in the original text: [The Greek cannot be reproduced here]

The meaning of this verse is as follows: He increased in wisdom, that is, he developed his astral body. Again, anyone who knows what is suggested to the Greek mind by the word age, stature, can tell you that the development of the etheric body is meant, whereby wisdom gradually becomes an accomplishment. We know that in the astral body qualities are developed which are called upon on single occasions; that is, we understand a thing once and then know it for ever. The etheric body brings to perfection the habits, inclinations, and accomplishments which it has acquired in the course of prolonged and continual repetition. Wisdom becomes a habit; it is put into practice, having passed into flesh and blood. That is the meaning of this increase in maturity (age). Even as the astral body increased in wisdom, the etheric body grew mature in noble habits of goodness and virtue. The third quality in which Jesus of Nazareth increased means in reality physical beauty as outwardly revealed. All other renderings are incorrect. We must render: He increased in grace and beauty, that is, he rendered also his physical body beautiful and noble.

‘And Jesus increased in wisdom (in his astral body), in maturity of disposition (in his etheric body), and in grace and beauty (in his physical body), so that it was visible to God and to man.’

From this description given by St. Luke, the Evangelist evidently knew that the recipient of the Christ was called upon to develop to their highest perfection the three bodily members — the physical, etheric, and astral bodies.

Thus we reach the conviction that the facts asserted by spiritual science independently of the Gospels, can be rediscovered in the latter. Spiritual science is thereby a cultural factor which ensures the recapture of our religious traditions and documents, not merely as a triumph of human learning and science, but in the sense of a conquest of thought and intellect in the life of the higher feeling and emotion. We need an understanding of this nature, if we would grasp the significance of that event described as the intervention of Christ in the evolution of mankind.